There’s a small selection of sandwiches and salads piled on the counter (as well as lots of sweet stuff) at this well-respected Kentish Town institution, which went entirely vegan this year. Our good-value £5 salad bowl was way less boring than that sounds: layers of toasted quinoa, al dente kale, sweet red cabbage, chunky-cut tomatoes, generous slices of creamy avocado and a smattering of black nigella seeds, famous for the their health-giving properties. Crammed full, toasted pumpkin seeds adding bite, it looked even nicer emptied out onto a plate. Meanwhile, the banh mih – the classic Vietnamese baguette – was packed with maple-baked tofu, sriracha mayo, spinach and beetroot, its spirit lifted by mint and coriander. We also liked the bottled carrot and red-pepper with turmeric juice and a tang of ginger. And the post-prandial espresso? As top quality as always. 52a, Prince of Wales Rd NW5
This new stall opened the other week at Camden Market right next to Butchies. A sister venture of our absolute fave vegans, Magic Falafel, Tomatello (which has both vegetarian and meat options) focuses on ‘building’ your own salad (around £6) from a dazzling array of ingredients. So you can go uber-healthy and concentrate on the many leaves, greens, roasted veg and a sprinkling of different seeds – or be a bit naughty and chuck in some sun-dried tomatoes or potatoes. The salsa verde is zingy too. Camden Market (near the entrance to Gilgamesh), NW1
A newish addition to Chalk Farm Road, Hawramam is named after the Kurdish region its owners are from; they also run the long-established vegetarian My Village café, currently under threat from typically greedy landlords, next door. The difference with this arrival is a greater emphasis on vegan dishes (although a couple of vegetarian options, with feta cheese or halloumi, exist). Our ‘house vegan plate’ was a multi-textural delight: raw slivers of crunchy radish, angular arcs of carrot, crisp leaves and curls of cucumber drizzled liberally with a zesty salsa verde around a mound of carefully cooked bulgar wheat. Further contrast is provided by smoky baba ganoush, as well as a bowl of warm roasted aubergine topped with spring onion. It’s a substantial plate in all, costing just over a tenner (£10.45), but they’re happy to serve you tap water if you want to keep your bill as low as possible. Open daily except Monday, 38 Chalk Farm Road NW1
The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals.For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.
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